First elected in 1997, Sinclair served until 2005 before returning to private life. Holly Walquist with Marietta Tree Keepers was elected to the seat for one term in the interim before Sinclair decided to challenge, and successfully ousted her in the 2009 race.
“He’s a very compassionate, concerned councilman,” Mayor Steve Tumlin said of Sinclair. “He’s a good communicator, and we’ll sure miss him.”
Councilman Grif Chalant pointed to the amount of time it takes to serve on the council.
“He’s working hard, you know, doing a lot of business, and I think it takes a lot of time to devote to this,” Chalfant said. “He’s got Marietta’s heart through everything that he does. Sometimes we don’t agree on everything, but we’re of like mind most of the time.”
Sinclair’s colleague at Harry Norman Realtors, Johnny Walker, has announced he will run for Sinclair’s seat. In addition to his job with Harry Norman, Walker has his own photography business. He previously served on the Downtown Marietta Development Authority for 10 years. Walker and his wife, Kim, have a 14-year-old daughter who attends Pace Academy in Buckhead.
It’s good to have new blood on the council, Sinclair said. “Politicians oftentimes have an exaggerated sense of self importance, and we think, ‘If it weren’t for me the whole system would fall apart,’ when in reality everything will do great,” he said. “There’s a good thing about having new people involved. Of course, I think I did a great job. I love it. But there’s something great about having a fresh perspective.”
The greening of Marietta
A point of pride during this last term, Sinclair said, was spearheading the city’s $2.7 million purchase of the 13-acre Preston Chase apartments on Franklin Road near Delk Road from Regions Bank in 2010 and razing the complex.
“We tore down 238 of the worst units in the city and replaced it with what one day will be a park,” Sinclair said. “We banked the land to turn it into a park. So that’s something I’m really proud of.”
Another point of pride was pushing the city to purchase $230,000 on 1.9 acres of property on Chicopee Drive in the Cherokee Heights Neighborhood to be used as parkland. Sinclair has served as chairman of the city’s Parks, Recreation and Tourism Committee during this term.
The trees planted along Church Street by the Square are another accomplishment.
“Think about how it pulls you down Church Street whereas it used to look kind of stark,” he said. “Now it feels much more like an extension of the Square, and I think that you’ll see that as the standard for what we do around the rest of the Square.”
The city will continue the tree planting effort along Mill Street in front of the Thaicoon & Sushi Bar as well as along Whitlock Avenue in front of the Marietta Pizza Co. next, he said.
“I’ve worked as part of a team,” he said. “We’ve got a bunch of the redevelopment sites going again. You know, Meeting Park being purchased by John Wieland Homes. Montgomery Park, the Postons are building that. I feel good about the direction of the city.”
Council members challenged
Aside from Sinclair, the six other council members all plan to run again, Tumlin said, although qualifying for office doesn’t start until Aug. 26 and runs through Aug. 28.
The three incumbents who have no known opposition are council members Philip Goldstein, Anthony Coleman and Grif Chalfant.
Marshall Dye, who served on the Marietta Board of Zoning Appeals for seven years and who is the owner of Court Makers Inc. on Marble Mill Road, Georgia’s largest tennis court-manufacturing company, has announced he will seek the Ward 4 seat held by Andy Morris.
Michelle Cooper Kelly, a manager for Anheuser-Busch and member of the Marietta Housing Authority, has announced she is vying for the eastside Ward 6 seat held by Jim King.
Marietta Board of Education member Stuart Fleming is challenging Ward 1 Councilwoman Annette Lewis.
And printing press operator Charles Levinson says he’s challenging Tumlin for the role of mayor.